A federal judge sided with the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) in its copyright infringement lawsuit against Lime Wire and ordered the latter to immediately stop distributing and supporting its file sharing software.
LimeWire is a cross-platform peer-to-peer file sharing application developed by Lime Wire LLC and dating back to May 2000.
The Java program supports the gnutella P2P network, as well as the BitTorrent protocol, and allows users to upload and download music, movies, software and other files easily.
The permanent injunction [pdf] prohibits Lime Wire from distributing, selling, advertising or otherwise supporting the application and orders the company to disable the searching, downloading, uploading, file trading and/or all of its functionality.
U.S. District Judge Kimba Wood, who issued the order, said that Lime Wire intentionally encouraged copyright infringement by being aware that the program's users were violating copyright laws on a massive scale.
Judge Wood also noted that the amount of potential statutory damages the company faces is so staggering that would probably be well beyond its capabilities to pay.
"Naturally, we’re disappointed with this turn of events," said Lime Wire's CEO George Searle in a message posted on the company's website.
"We are extremely proud of our pioneering history and have, for years, worked hard to bridge the gap between technology and content rights holders.
"However, at this time, we have no option but to cease further distribution and support of our software," he added.
Mr. Searle also announced that the company remains open for business and plans to use its resources to creating a new music service.
More details about this service will be revealed at a later date, but it's not hard to imagine that it will probably be something conceptually similar to Napster.
It's also worth noting that the injunction clearly states that if the company want to release a new version of the "LimeWire System and Software," it must first submit it to RIAA and the court for review.
The LimeWire System and Software includes the computer hardware and servers operated by or on behalf of the company, as well as its limewire.com and limewire.org domains.